Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rewind: To Oil, Or Not Oil The Tracks

A member of the Canadian Railway Modellers group on Facebook recently asked about the best way to clean track. It reminded me of this old post, from 2009. I haven't cleaned my track for over 15 years--or locomotive or rolling stock wheels, for that matter. The secret? Wahl Clipper Oil, as I wrote about in 2009.

Forget the debate over which scale or brand of locomotive is best; if you really want to start an animated discussion, bring up the subject of oiling your track.

There are two schools of thought in this regard: Oilers and non-oilers. The oilers can’t stop praising the results of using oil; the non-oilers tell people to flee—flee, I say!—as fast at they can from track oiling. Both sides have testimonials, pro and con.

As for me, I am an oiler. I have been using Wahl Clipper Oil on my CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision for about eight years now.

Why do I use it? For two reasons. First, it really does seem to enhance conductivity—the locomotives really do run better.

Second, it eliminates the need to clean track; I haven’t cleaned my track since 2001.

Since my layout has a mainline run of about 230 feet, plus sidings and yard, cleaning track would be a huge undertaking. Not having to clean the track is a blessing. (And, no, it’s not because of metal wheels; only about a third of my rolling stock has them.)

How do I use it? I put a small dab on my finger and then put the oil on the track. I then run a train around the layout, spreading a thin layer of oil along the tracks. I put on a dab a few times a month.

What about gunk? Nope—not a big problem. I rarely have to clean the wheels on my rolling stock, and I never have to clean the wheels on my locomotives.

What about slippage? The grades on my layout are only 1.5 percent, and I use two units to pull all the trains. I have never experienced any slippage due to slick track.

How does it work? I have no idea. All I know is that it keeps my track clean and the trains run great.

1 comment:

  1. I believe the Wahl clipper oil works because the oil keeps condensation from ever building up on the surface of the rail. No water=no rust or corrosion will show up where oil has been placed. Yes, it might cause locomotives to lose a bit of traction, but even in the real world they have to use sand on wet rails...